Karyn Fay worked in medical labs for years before coming to Michigan Tech to teach. She uses her "real world" experiences to connect with her students. Fay has received Michigan Tech's 2016 Distinguished Teaching Award in the Assistant Professor/Lecturer/Professor of Practice category.
Karyn Fay is the child of teachers. So it wasn’t surprising that after several successful years in the medical profession she herself turned to the classroom at Michigan Technological University. Fay’s passion for teaching has resulted in the University’s highest teaching honor.
Fay, a professor of practice in Tech’s Biological Science Department, has been recognized as the recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Teaching Award in the Assistant Professor/Lecturer/Professor of Practice Category.
A native of Manistique, Fay received a BS in Medical Technology from Lake Superior State College (now Lake Superior State University). She worked in medical labs throughout the country, returning to the Upper Peninsula to earn a Master’s in Biological Sciences from Michigan Tech in 1989. Following graduation, she became the hematology supervisor at what was then Calumet Public Hospital (now Aspirus Keweenaw).
Her connections as a clinical supervisor first led Fay to teach as an adjunct faculty member at Michigan Tech in 2002. Her passion for teaching eventually drew her to teaching full time, and she now directs the Medical Laboratory Science program. Biological Sciences Chair Chandrashekhar Joshi says Fay is “dedicated to teaching and preparing the next generation of medical lab professionals.”
Fay’s students place a high value on her extensive industry experience. “She is able to tell real life stories about what she is teaching at the time,” a student wrote. “Having these stories help bring everything together and show you how it applies to real-world situations.”
Dean Bruce Seely of the College Sciences and Arts emphasizes Fay’s broader teaching role as well. “Karyn brings an amazing level of teaching commitment to the Department of Biological Sciences MLS program. Her efforts are not limited to the classes she offers, but are equally apparent in her advising and overall direction of the program as she helps students through their clinical activities, practicums and internship.”
In addition to classroom teaching, Fay serves as academic advisor to the Society of Medical Laboratory Scientists, His House Christian Fellowship and Theta Chi Epsilon Sorority.
"Karyn brings an amazing level of teaching commitment to the Department of Biological Sciences MLS program." Bruce Seely, Dean of the College of Sciences and Arts
Her close connection with students doesn’t make her an “easy mark” however. One student says, “Karyn does not inflate her grading or give out ‘easy A’s.’ If you earn an A, you truly knew your stuff.” Students agree Fay ensures that students get the extra help they need and incorporates active learning into her classroom, “inspiring students to think.”
Fay was inducted into the Academy of Teaching Excellence in 2005 and is currently focused on pursuing accreditation of the MLS program through the National Accreditation Agency of Clinical Laboratory Scientists.
She says she tries to instill in her students two basic tenets—mutual respect and communication. “I am truly humbled to be receiving this award because my students, each and every one, have my utmost respect, and to think they respect me in kind means the world to me.”
Fay will receive a $2,500 monetary award and a plaque at an awards dinner sponsored by University President Glenn Mroz in the fall. Chang Kyoung Choi, an associate professor in Michigan Tech’s Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics Department is the recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Teaching Award in the Associate Professor/Professor category.